Friday, November 28, 2014

HHS may start reassigning your Obamacare plan every year without your consent

Lost amid the recent hubbub over the Obamacare numbers-fudging scandal is this interesting bit of news you can use: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is considering a rules change that would allow it to drop and reassign your Obamacare plan during each year’s enrollment period, unless you expressly renew the same coverage (assuming it’s available) for another year.

In other words, if you have an Obamacare plan and you want to keep it, you’d have to tell the government that — or the government could “demote” your policy to the lowest-cost plan in that same coverage tier when it’s time to re-enroll.

“We are considering alternative options for re-enrollment, under which consumers who take no action might be defaulted into a lower cost plan rather than their current plan,” HHS explained in its fact sheet for Obamacare benefit “parameters.”

That basically amounts to yet another version of government pulling the rug out from under those who’ve bought in to its promises of better, more stable coverage under Obamacare.

“If You Like Your Obamacare Health Plan, You Can Keep It, If HHS Doesn’t Pick a New One For You,” Reason intoned in a headline late last week:
It’s not just auto-reenrollment. It’s auto-reassignment, at least for those who pick that option. Basically, if you like your plan, but don’t go out of your way to intentionally re-enroll, the kind and wise folks at HHS or state health exchanges might just pick a new plan — perhaps with different doctors, clinics, cost structures, and benefit options — for you. And if you want to switch back? Good luck once open enrollment is closed. There’s always next year.
On the bright side, customers might be afforded the option of choosing whether to participate in such an auto-reassignment program, although it’s not clear that many of them would understand the ramifications of doing so.

If adopted, the change would take effect in 2016.

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